News

MRI to be shut down one month for scheduled revamp

By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at Brantford General Hospital will be shut down for one month beginning July 27, 2017 to carry out a scheduled $800,000 refurbishment. Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor/Postmedia Network

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at Brantford General Hospital will be shut down for one month beginning July 27, 2017 to carry out a scheduled $800,000 refurbishment. Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor/Postmedia Network

Brantford General Hospital is announcing it will shut down its MRI machine for a month this summer to carry out an $800,000 refurbishment, and is re-scheduling appointments to inconvenience patients as little as possible.

The temporary shutdown of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine is scheduled to take place from July 27 through Aug. 27 inclusive, Jennifer Slawek, spokeswoman for the Brant Community Healthcare System, said in a news release. MRI scheduling requisitions received during that time will continue to be prioritized by the radiologists.

In anticipation of the shutdown, additional hours have been scheduled to accommodate completing as many scans as possible before and immediately after the period the machine is out of service, she said.

Arrangements have also been made with partner hospitals to ensure coverage for urgent MRI scans during the downtime.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we undertake this important upgrade,” said Jim Hornell, president and CEO of the Brant Community Healthcare System which operates the equipment.

The shutdown affects about 650 patients, said Slawek. However, almost half are being scanned advance of the upgrade, earlier than their typical appointment wait times, and the remainder afterward.

“We are currently operating more hours than usual since April in preparation for this,” she said.

“We will also be over scanning, or open extra hours of operation, in September and October to catch up on our August hours not performed.”

Officials have also made provisions for those scans that can’t be rescheduled at BGH, she said.

“All requisitions are prioritized by a radiologist for urgency. Urgent scans will be scheduled by BGH’s MRI scheduling office at a partner hospital.”

The equipment doesn’t have any technical or operating problems, the hospital says, it’s just time to do scheduled refurbishment to keep it in good running order.

Hornell explained that while the MRI’s magnet has a 22-year lifespan, other aspects of the technology require refurbishment.

“Thanks to the generosity of the community, the current MRI was installed in 2007 – 10 years ago,” he said.

This $800,000 is once again being funded with donor dollars through the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation.

It’s been nearly 10 years since the MRI arrived at BGH on Sept. 5, 2007, after seven years of planning and fundraising by community health care advocates and Brant MPP Dave Levac’s lobbying of Ontario cabinet ministers.

That day, about 100 people crammed against a long window and cheered as they watched history being made.

The machine came at a cost of $2 million plus another $1 million for set up and training.

It meant local patients no longer had to drive to London or Hamilton for MRIs.

It has since done more than 4,100 scans per year.

The foundation is continuing to fundraise to support the MRI’s refurbishment. For more information on how to contribute, contact the BCHS Foundation at 519-751-5510, or email foundation@bchsys.org.

MMarion@postmedia.com

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